Sadly, the number of local children who have been abused or neglected is rising—and there are few clues as to why. “That’s not an easy question to answer,” Lloyd Malone, executive director of the state’s child welfare division, tells the Denver Post. Though the downturned economy could be one reason, the number of kids abused in other states is declining. Yet in Colorado, 36 children were killed in 2009, and 11,339 of the state’s 1.2 million children were maltreated. Thankfully, agencies that investigate child abuse have been spared significant budget cuts, unlike the state’s foster care system.

Meanwhile, a bill to protect kids from being bullied at school will face its first hurdle at the state Legislature today (also via the Post). Spurred by high-profile suicides around the nation last year, the proposal would create a committee to study bullying, as well as a fund to fight it. Fifty-seven percent of the state’s elementary and high school children say they’ve been verbally bullied, and 33 percent say they’ve also experienced physical bullying.